Rejoice Series Sermon 3

Rejoice Series Sermon 3
~Check Your Attitude~
Tyson Graber, Herscher Christian Church
August 21,2011
Philippians 2:1-11

“Son, you better check your attitude,” is something I heard my father say more times than I would like to admit.  And over the past few years that phrase has begun to come out of my mouth more and more as I address my own 4 boys.  I would guess that many of you have heard similar phrases from time to time at home, at work, or at school. 

From my own personal experience those times when I was told to check my attitude it was because I needed it.  Often times, it was because I got caught up thinking too highly, too poorly, or just simply too much about myself to the point I was making my life and/or those around me miserable.

The ability for us, as Christians,  to rejoice in the Lord always is directly connected to our attitude.  The apostle Paul knows that the proper attitude is often the difference between feeling like rejoicing or feeling rotten.  In our study today, I pray that we see that we must shape our attitudes to be like Christ in order to rejoice always.

In the opening verses of Philippians 2, Paul challenges all of us to an attitude check.  When my dad would give me an attitude check I usually didn’t like it.  You may be feeling much the same way this morning.  Don’t get all nervous or defensive just yet, because Paul doesn’t point out any specific problem.  He stays positive in this passage, and he just states the truth, that there is a value in a healthy attitude.  And he goes on to show us how to attain one by following the example of Jesus.

If you are suffering from a lack of Joy in your life because you have a sour attitude and it has squeezed all the gladness and fun out of your life, then I want you to pay extra special attention to this passage from Philippians 2 today, and to study it even after we leave this place, because Paul gives us the best example ever to follow the attitude of Jesus Christ.

If you want to be able to Rejoice always, in all circumstances, then reflect on the attitude of Jesus in your life in all that you do in every way. 

But, how do you do that?

Read Philippians 2:1-5

In Romans 6,  Paul says when we are being baptized into Christ we are united with Him in His death.  Do  you have any encouragement from being united in Christ?   When I think back to my memories of my baptism, I find great encouragement in knowing I am united with Christ.   It’s not because of anything I have done but because of everything He has done.

If there is any comfort in His love?  The Father loves you!

[Story of trying to go to sleep when a baby sitter is watching you.  (Lack of secure feeling.)]

Those who loved you most in the world were there and once you knew that, that comfort allowed you to go to sleep peacefully.

Have you experienced that ultimate love of God,  your heavenly father?  By simply knowing His love, you are comforted by the fact that in His love nothing else can ultimately pull you away.

If any tenderness or compassion?  Has the Lord ever been tender or compassionate towards you?  Sure He has!

Then Paul says, ‘.. if any of this describes you.  If you have received any of this unity, love, tenderness and compassion then act the same way.’

Notice his words; he says, “be like minded.”

Then in verse 5 he really makes it simple for us.  He says,

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”

In other words ...

  • His thoughts should inspire our thoughts
  • His attitudes should inspire our attitudes.
  • His actions should inspire our actions.

Do you want the sermon in a nutshell?  Would anyone like the whole sermon wrapped up in 4 simple words?  I can give you the whole thing in 4 words...

LOOK LIKE JESUS CHRIST 
 
Wherever you go, whatever you do, whatever path you go down, Look like Jesus Christ.  That’s it.

Some of you are thinking, “OK, now we’ve got it, can we sing, take communion and go home?”  NO!

Here is the beautiful thing about this, Paul goes on to explain how we can look like Jesus.  It starts simply with our attitudes.

Stay with me just a little longer as we spend time learning from God’s Word today,  because I have found that the more time we spend with something the more we look like that thing.

Have you noticed that older couples, after years of spending time together will often begin to look alike?

Have you ever noticed how much people often become to look like their pets?

Guys, if we can end up looking like our pets don’t you think we should look like the one who saved us by his own sacrifice?

If you have been a Christian for a number of years and you don’t look anything more like Jesus than the day you accepted Him as your savior, then there is something wrong with your Christian walk, or even your relationship with Jesus Christ, because we need to look like Him.

Right now we are going to study what it is that Jesus really looks like, and what His attitude is really focused on.

I believe this passage we are about to read is one the most clear and powerful pictures of Jesus in the entire New Testament.   

Read Philippians 2:5-11

1. Christ was fully God,  reaching out to save us.

The first thing we need to understand about Christ’s nature is that even though He was God, He came to earth to be with us.

Jesus Christ was fully God, and He came to earth.  There are some that teach that Jesus was a lesser form of God because God in His full form would not actually ever come to earth to be among mere humans on earth because He would never stoop so low to leave heaven to come here.  They make Jesus out to be something less than God, but let me tell you that is absolutely wrong, and is fully heresy. 

What we see here from Paul is the truth that God Himself came to the earth to save us in the form of Jesus.

READ John 1:1-2

Jesus Christ the Word, not the one who looked like God, not the one who acted like God but the one who was and is God, came in the flesh.

READ Hebrews 1:1-3

He is the power, He holds everything together with His Word.

Let us rest on the truth that God came to earth through Jesus.  When we choose to follow Jesus and live like Him, we are following God Himself.

When Jesus came,  He did not give up any of His God nature, but for a time, He gave up His position at the right hand of God.  He went from being in the perfection of heaven to have His first experience on an earth full of pain.  Think about the first smell of and the unpleasant odors of a manger and the sound of a bleating lamb ... all the way to His final experiences before His death on the cross.  Think of the piercing of a roman spike through His hand ...  to the terrible smell and taste of sour vinegar and blood mixed with hot sweat.  Think of  possibly, finally, just before his death, hearing the mournful cries of His mother.

I don’t care how you describe it,  but be certain that ‘Jesus who was fully God’ left the perfection of heaven with the attitude of one coming to seek and save the lost.

2.  Secondly while Jesus was fully God he became fully human.

Jesus did not lose any of His divine nature, but He laid aside His right to hold onto His equality with God for a time to serve us in the form of a man.

3.  With that said He took on the status of a servant.

Jesus said the son of man did not come to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.

4. He became obedient to death

Paul Highlights that Jesus became obedient to death.  You and I can’t be obedient to death; it is not a choice for us, we can try to avoid it for as long as we can, but we will at one point or another be overcome by it.   But Jesus, the Lord and creator of life, became obedient to death for our benefit.

5.  It wasn’t just any ordinary death it, was death by crucifixion. 

This is where we see Jesusj allow Himself to be taken to His lowest point,  to undergo one of the worst deaths known to mankind.  Death on a cross.  Jesus died in public disgrace; He died a criminal’s death.

Paul writes all of this and says, ‘Now that you know who Jesus was and is, that is who I want you to be.’  Here is our attitude check for the day and for our lives.  I want you to have this same attitude that Jesus had, that took him to the cross to save others.  That’s how you should act. That’s how you should look.  Be like Jesus Christ.

Jesus is your model!  The one who could leave heaven to become the lowest of servants, that’s how we should look in this life.

You want to live a happy life, you want to rejoice no matter what comes your way?  LIVE LIKE JESUS, LOOK LIKE JESUS, HAVE THE ATTITUDE OF JESUS

Do your very best to imitate Jesus in everything.

There are a lot of different ideas about how to live a long and happy life.  You have heard hundreds of them:  Eat this, don’t eat that, do this, don’t do that, live here in the summer and here in the winter.  All kinds of advice about what to do and what not to do in order to hopefully be happy.

But how many of you have ever been let down by the advice of the world?  Let me tell you,  Paul’s advice, to be the same as Christ Jesus, will never let you down.

Warren Wersbe said about this matter of attitude, “Outlook determines outcome.”

OUTLOOK DETERMINES OUTCOME

You want a positive outcome in life, develop a Christlike attitude in life and live like Jesus.

How?

1.  Develop a humble Spirit

I heard a preacher say once,

 "People with humility don’t think less of themselves, they just think about themselves less."

Humility is keeping a healthy perspective on who we really are.

How many of recognize the name George B. McClellan?  Not many?

Unless you are a history buff his name probably means little to you.  But George B. McClellan was at one point the general of the entire Union Army during the civil war.  He was one of the most popular generals of his time.  For that matter, history tells us that in many people’s eyes at the time he was irreplaceable and almost a superstar of war ..., and he loved it.  He would get dressed up and go out in public just to allow the public to make over him.  He loved to hear people adore him and his position.

With all that said, during the war Lincoln had some public pressure to make him general and chief of the army and he did, hoping that title would prompt him to take some needed action and help win the war for the north.  But the only thing that appointment seemed to do was give the general a bigger head and it caused him to  procrastinate in some of the most important things that needed to be done. 

In his arrogance, he treated Lincoln poorly.  One night, Lincoln and 2 of his aids went to McClellan’s home to discuss the war only to discover that McClellan had gone to a wedding party.  So they sat down in his front room and decided to wait for him to return.  When McClellan returned home after a great deal of time he glanced into the room saw the president and his aids sitting there, but without even acknowledge them, he went straight up stairs. 

Thirty minutes later Lincoln sent someone up to tell him that they were waiting on him only to be given the answer that McClellan had already gone to bed for the night.

Lincoln's aids became very angry.   I would have been angry, too, if I would have been there with Lincoln that night.  But, Lincoln merely got up and led the way home.  This is what he told his aids:

 “This is no time to be making points of etiquette or personal dignity.  I would hold  McClellan’s horse if only he will bring us success.” 

Now that’s humility.  When I think back in history, I think Abraham Lincoln’s greatness, in large part, was in his humility, and his ability to rally people together for victory was nothing short of amazing.  We remember the humble Lincoln for his greatness, but we don’t  remember George Mcclellan for much at all.

 

2. Develop a servants spirit.

During the ministry of Jesus, the disciples often struggled with being humble.  Toward the end,  James and John let pride get in the way.  They asked that when Jesus became King if they could sit at his right and left side.  In other words, they  asked for the places of honor,  of something like vice president and secretary of state.  This made the rest of the disciples very upset, and rightfully so. 'What gives them the right to ask for that when I haven’t gotten the chance to ask for it?'  They began to be worried about position instead of service until, at the last supper,  Jesus had to show them about a servant’s spirit.

You see, during the last supper the disciples did not consider the hospitality needed,  especially concerning the washing of the feet before the meal.   In the culture of the day people wore sandals on bare feed. They walked the dusty roads, the same roads and paths traveled by the livestock, so the feet became a thing of attention for a host concerned about his guests comfort and well being.  They carried in all the dirt, dust, and smells of the roads and streets. 

Feet didn’t get washed until after supper, as guests were at rest and before then evening closed.  With many guests, sleeping space was often at a premium Who wants to be touched by these dirty grimy feet?

That’s when Jesus, the God of heaven, took a servants towel and washed feet.

Paul says, 'Look like Jesus.”'

He is not saying wash feet today,  people,  but he is saying, 'Look like Jesus!”'

Washing feet is not the point, the point is be willing to do what seems to be the lowest of tasks when it means you are serving someone else in the name of Jesus for His glory!

There are opportunities all around you to serve like Jesus.  You could look like Jesus.  I have seen people around here look like Jesus many times.

You could look like him also, but it often starts with an attitude check.  Look to the needs of others ahead of your own.

It is time that some of you go from being the one that is always being served to the one that is serving others.  Going from served to service is a major part of the maturity for Christians. 

If you want to look like Jesus, serve like Jesus.

3. Finally if you want to be a person that rejoices with Jesus,  Develop that “Positive Spirit.”

The happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything.

In these tough times and with all the stress of the world its easy to get sidetracked and begin to give up on life; its easy to become afraid.

Jesus said, ‘don’t worry about what you will eat or drink, don’t worry about what you will wear.  But put the Kingdom of God first and he will provide your needs.’

You work on the outlook and God will work on the outcome.  Make the most of everything for His glory, and when you do, you will look like Jesus to this world.

I love how Paul ends this passage of scripture. 

One of these days when Jesus comes,

 “Every knee will bow, every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the father.” 

That one who humbled Himself so much will be exalted one day by all, but if you wait until that day it will be too late to be saved.  Everyone will say it one day or another, so say it now.  Give your life to Him today and turn your attitude over to Him forever!  Come today and accept Him as your savior.